Bosnian Soldier ‘Knew About Abuse at Wartime Detention Camp’

1. July 2020.17:37
A former inmate’s daughter testified that ex-soldier Osman Osmanovic, who is accused of war crimes against prisoners, was a supervisor at a detention camp in the Brcko area of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.

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Belgrade Higher Court. Photo: BIRN

A witness testified at Belgrade Higher Court on Wednesday that her father was a prisoner at the Gornji Rahic wartime detention camp in the Brcko area of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and told her that defendant Osman Osmanovic had a supervisory role there.

“My father was taken to Osman Osmanovic, he questioned him, took his ID card and after that he was sent to the cold-storage unit [at the Gornji Rahic detention camp],” said Mara Bukmirovic, the daughter of Aleksandar Pavlovic, who was held at the camp from May to July 1992. Pavlovic died in 2013.

The indictment alleges that Osmanovic was a member of the Croatian Defence Council, and later of the Bosnian Army, and that he committed war crimes against prisoners held at the Gornji Rahic camp during the summer of 1992.

Bukmirovic said her father and another detainee thought that Osmanovic “must have had some authority” at the camp and “must have known” about the torture there.

“That was part of their conclusion, because they were brought to him and because he came to supervise, so they realised that he had some authority in relation to those other people,” she said.

Osmanovic, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was arrested in November 2019 on the border between Serbia and Bosnia. Sarajevo asked for his extradition but Serbia refused.

His trial in Belgrade started on June 1, when he pleaded not guilty.

At Wednesday’s hearing, the sister of another deceased former prisoner also testified, but she said her brother never talked about the names of people who beat him at the Gornji Rahic camp.

The trial continues on July 27.

Milica Stojanović

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)